Memorial: The complicated love story of a young gay couple

Book review: In his debut novel, Bryan Washington addresses race, class and identity in an unforced way

Author Bryan Washington describes his debut novel, Memorial, as ‘a gay slacker dramedy’.

Author Bryan Washington describes his debut novel, Memorial, as ‘a gay slacker dramedy’.

Following his International Dylan Thomas Prize-winning short-story collection, Lot (2019), Bryan Washington’s debut novel is what he calls “a gay slacker dramedy”. With exquisite attention to the ever-shifting spaces between people, Memorial deftly renders both grief and moments of quotidian joy, often in shared meals.

Benson and Mike have been together for four years, sharing an apartment in Houston. Without the blueprints available to their straight friends, they aren’t quite sure what the future holds for their relationship. The two fight a lot, invariably followed by make-up sex, but neither the fights nor the sex gets them any clearer on what it is they want or where the relationship is going.

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